Prasang Paarijaat!

Prasang Paarijaat is hagiography of sage Ramananda which was written by his disciple Chetan Das about 700 years ago. As per the book when sage was about to depart he instructed his disciple to compile key events from his life and when he disappeared Chetan Das chronicled some very inspiring events. Sage didn’t leave the material body behind him. He was considered incarnation of Shri Ramachandra. The book is a gem in spirituality and mysticism and it was a synchronicity that I was led to read in 2014 during my stay in Vrindavan by the divine. This book wasn’t published in public until 1947 as was the strict order of Ramanand’s prime disciples. It was guarded by the sages of the Ramanandi sect for many centuries because it had some prophecies about India’s fight for freedom from colonial british rule.

The book struck me as very awe-inspiring. The teachings are coherent and timeless whereas miracles are beyond ordinary but somewhat similar to what are found in other hagiographies. The sage had 12 great disciples who were some of greatest devotees. Kabir, Raidas and Pipa were among them. Sage Ramananda was first to preach in Hindi in the age of Bhakti in medieval period. He also welcomed people from all castes, creeds and sexes. His hagiography is a wonderful read for all interested devotees and mystics. Every sect believes that its founder was the greatest incarnation of God in this age–therefore, if Sant Mat and Kabirpanthi believe that Kabir illuminated Ramananda–whereas this book establishes that Ramananda instructed Kabir and Raidas to initiate common people in Surati Shabd Yoga. Kabir is more popular than Ramananda still it is not clear whether he really taught Ramananda or learnt Surati Shabd Yoga from him. But it is evident that Taoists and other people were following similar meditation techniques much before them. After Kabir, Nanak and his successors organized the technique and taught it to most people.

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